Ocwen troubles aren’t over yet

Preparing to book $370-$420 million goodwill charge off

The last few months have been a time of great turmoil and distress for Ocwen Financial (OCN).

The beleaguered nonbank attempted to calm investor turmoil when it reported earlier last month that it expects to record a loss for both the fourth quarter and full year 2014, but the company still hasn’t reported its financial data for 2014. And last week, the company was hit with an avalanche of bad news, in the form of reports that Ocwen was fired as the servicer from two residential mortgage-backed securitizations and accused of costing bond investors $26 billion.

When the company does finally report its yearly financial data, there will be several more negative items in the ledger, and the company is attempting to preemptively alleviate investor concerns by getting out in front of the news.

In a press release Monday, the company said that it is expecting its fourth quarter and year-end results to be affected by a $370-$420 million non-cash charge to write-off goodwill.

Additionally, Ocwen reported that it created a $15 million reserve relating to its “remediation plan” to address complaints that it was backdating letters to borrowers.

Ocwen also said that it plans to file for an extension with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow the nonbank to file its 10-K on or before March 17 without incurring a penalty.

The company said that it requires the extension to “complete its goodwill valuation analysis and its financial closing procedures and to ensure appropriate disclosure of various recent events impacting the company.”

Additionally, Ocwen disclosed that it hired Moelis & Company and Barclays Capital to “support the company and to advise regarding adjustments to its capital structure, as appropriate.” Ocwen added that these advisors are helping the company explore its strategic options moving forward.

Ocwen also disclosed several sizeable transactions involving its mortgage servicing rights. In addition to the recently announced sale a $9.8 MSR billion portfolio to Nationstar Mortgage (NSM), the company also agreed to sell a MSR portfolio consisting of approximately 277,000 performing agency loans owned by Fannie Mae with a total unpaid principal balance of approximately $45 billion to an undisclosed buyer.

In December, Ocwen Chief Executive Officer Ron Faris said the company planned to exit agency servicing entirely.

“Subject to a definitive agreement, approvals by Fannie Mae and Federal Housing Finance Agency and other customary conditions, Ocwen expects the transaction to close by mid-year and the loan servicing to transfer over the course of the second half of 2015,” the company said.

In total, Ocwen said that it is “on track” to sell agency MSRs for approximately $55 billion in unpaid principal balance in the next six months for prices “significantly above its estimated carrying value.”

Ocwen said that it currently anticipates that these transactions will generate approximately $550 million of proceeds over the next six months and accelerate Ocwen's strategy to reduce the size of its agency servicing portfolio.

Ocwen also said that it recently awarded a sale of non-performing and performing loan assets to an undisclosed buyer. The total proceeds are expected to be approximately $40 million, and the company expects the transaction to close by the end of March, Ocwen said. According to Ocwen, the book value of the assets is approximately $26 million.

The company also added that on Monday, it entered into an amendment to its $1.3 billion senior secured term loan to “remove certain restrictions on asset sales and permanently increase a financial covenant.” In exchange, Ocwen has agreed to an accelerated repayment schedule for cash received from asset sales. 

"We are pleased with the actions of our term loan investors,” Faris said Monday. “They have been supportive of Ocwen and recognize the importance and benefit of executing on our strategy. Additionally, their willingness to enter into an amendment with Ocwen is an affirmation that the Company is, and always has been, in compliance with all of its SSTL covenants.”

Ocwen added that it is not aware and it is “not anticipating” any material fines, penalties or settlements in the near future. Ocwen said that it still expects to resolve two open legacy matters for a total of less than $1 million.

Ocwen has been the target of several investor power plays in recent weeks as investors are pushing for Ocwen’s affiliates, including Home Loan Servicing Solutions (HLSS) to separate itself from Ocwen.

“Ocwen believes that the SSTL amendment shows that there is no event of default and there has not been any event of default under Ocwen's SSTL,” Ocwen said. “Ocwen has publicly refuted a number of times the allegations made by a purported noteholder of certain Home Loan Servicing Solutions advance financing notes which admits it is pursuing a strategy of shorting Ocwen's stock. Ocwen continues to vigorously defend itself against the claims of this short seller.”

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